Monday, July 5, 2010

Gimme 5, July

The July 4th holiday will wind down today.  All the Workers Bees will be back in their hives tomorrow, merrily humming away, "Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho, it's off to work I go."  We're gearing up for a pretty normal Monday.  Mow the lawn, water the lawn, mess with camping and hiking stuff, go shopping, you know the routine.

Yesterday was a lot of fun--we're really happy all of the local festivities took place on Saturday, the day BEFORE July 4th.  A lot of people locally were bent out of shape because the festivities weren't taking place on the TRUE holiday, July 4th itself.  Having the festivities all done and out of the way allowed us to enjoy a really nice day yesterday.  We didn't have to rush off to the parade and we didn't have to spend the afternoon gawking at the vendors and crowds along the East Bank and we didn't have to prepare to hustle off to see the fireworks.  Instead, we had two Dear Friends and LBRs over for a long breakfast and a happy game of improvised extreme croquet.  Then we were able to enjoy a true leisure holiday including a two hour nap before we went off to a truly traditional July 4th backyard picnic.  The picnic gathering was as traditional as it gets.  What makes such a picnic traditional?  Ok, so here goes The Top 20:

1)  Lots of people, dogs and kids.
2) Kids playing games and chasing each other around the lawn
3) Dogs causing trouble
4) A big galvanized tub filled with ice and shiny beer cans
5) Several coolers of beer
6)A long buffet table covered with summertime pot luck dishes
7)A smoky backyard campfire
8)Kids roasting marshmallows with long forks
9)A man barbecuing burgers and hot dogs
10)Melt in your mouth slow roasted beef brisket
11)Summertime desserts of all types
12)A little kid passing around a big box of jello shooters!
13)Adults in shorts and Hawaiian shirts
14)Classic Mo Town music on an iPod playing through good speakers
15)Lots of relaxed adults chit-chatting together. Laughter and smiles all around.
16)Long rays of a late sunset filtering through leafy trees
17)Lots of blooming flowers and a good looking garden full of lettuce and snow peas
18)A charming hostess and host.
19)Heaping plates of yummy food
20)Perfect blue skies, cool temperatures and a light breeze

The brisket was the highlight of the evening for me.  Best brisket I can remember eating!  The guy who brought it cooked it ten hours so we figure his shopping, pre-prep and so forth made it an 11 hour brisket.  That's a lot of work and it sure showed in the quality of the final product.

We pointed out to the hostess that her picnic wouldn't have been happening unless July 4th fell on a Sunday.  On any other day, everyone would have been staging to go to the fireworks.  Sure, you can have a picnic on a Saturday but how often do you really get to have a genuine July 4th picnic on July 4th?  Not very danged often here in Idaho Falls--maybe once every 7 years if I understand the way the calendar works.  It was sure fun to enjoy a good old-fashioned Fourth of July Picnic.

We arrived home at 9:30 and the neighborhood was a hopping and popping with all manner of home grown fireworks displays.  Idaho only sells little popper-style fireworks.  However, Wyoming is wide open and will sell you pretty much anything up to an MX missile.  The Fort Hall Sho-Ban Rez likewise has serious heavy duty artillery.  So, local folks simply trek to Wyoming or Fort Hall and lug back some fierce firepower.  Then they let it all go up in a froth of flame, smoke and sound.  The cops look the other way and nobody cares.  It makes it sound like a shootout at the OK Corral here in the local neighborhood.  Pretty interesting, actually.

Today dawned with a complexity.  Here's the story.  Susun and I often sit around camp and, well, we talk about camping stuff.  Duh.  During the past few months, we more or less talked ourselfs into buying yet another popup camper for the pick-em-up truck.  We've had three of those models (so far) and we've been sitting 'round the campfire getting nostalgic for the Good Ol' Days of Pop Top Camping.  So, one day over in Dubois we said, "OK, let's buy a poptop camper again!"  All right.  What that does it put some energy out into the universe and the universe begins to attempt to fulfill your vision.

Meanwhile at 1:25 am this morning, some guy over in SW Boise puts the perfect poptop camper on Craigs List.  By a fluke of luck, I happen to spot his listing only 4.5 hours after he listed it.  Click here to see it.  It's the perfect camper, the perfect price, everything we would want in a popup camper.  OK, meanwhile, if we got a poptop, we would need to get a Suzuki Samurai.  Lo and behold, there's a tintop for sale in Mountain Home--right on the way to Boise.  Yeah, it's kind of a junker Zuki but the price is right and, as you know, I can fix those things blindfolded, especially now that a Harbor Freight is right next door.  Click here to see the junker.  Well, the universe delivered.  It did it's part.  Now the ball was in our court this morning.  Tag, you're it!  It's like the universe saying, "OK, Susun and John, if you REALLY serious about this poptop camper thing, well, here you go, what's it gonna be?"

OK, so Susun gets up and we commence to build a big dialog about the whole scene.  Are we gonna change our camping paradigm or are we gonna stand pat with the hand we've been dealt.  Is it time to hold 'em or is it time to fold 'em?  Back and forth we went in our dialog.  Ebb and flow.  Pro and con.  Ying and yang.  Walla, walla bing and bang.  Finally, we came full circle around and faced the facts as we know them.  There's no such thing as "the perfect camp rig."  We know that.  Every camp rig has its pros and cons.  When you abandon one paradigm for another, you simply inherit a new bag of issues, challenges and opportunities.
We decided at this time to play IdaHold 'Em and stand pat with the hand we have.  For what we want to do at this point in time, we have as good a camp rig as we're going to get.  This spring it really proved itself worthy of some hard core camping.  Meanwhile, as Susun said, "Just say you spent $40 on a cot and saved ourselves $1300."  (Cost of camper @ $1200 + $100 RT gas to get it here.) That cot has made ALL the difference in Susun's enthusiasm about tent camping.

So, making a short story yet ever longer, these types of things often happen to us as a test of our campfire chit-chat.  Now that we've decided to dance with the one that brung us, it's all OK again.  We won't have to talk any more about getting a poptop and a Samurai.  Nope, that speculative dialog is long gone and we can move forward once again fully enjoying all of the intricate Swiss watch complexities of our pickup truck full of camping gear.  Case closed.

(Sequel to the story posted at 10:30 am:  When we were discussing "all of the above," I told Susun that if we were going to buy a poptop, this one was THE one because it was priced a thousand dollars below fair market value.  About 10:15 am, the owner of the camper calls on my cell phone and sezx the price was wrong--it wasn't $1200--it was supposed to be $2100!  See.   So, heck, if we truly weren't interested at the "gimme" price of $1200, we KNOW we aren't interested in one of these things any more.  Case REALLY closed!)

Have a great day and Cheers!  jp


Marti Spudboater said...

Hey John and Susun: Reading that tome about all those great 4th of July fun things like beers and wet dogs, and kids and fireworks and the lot really did makeme homesick. I've never been out of the US on 4th of July.We did make do,however, and managed to cobble together a bbque here in Zagreb with Americans, Canadians, Swede's, Croats, and others.We even invited some Brits to celebrate the fact that we Canadians and Americans ditched those SOBs years ago. Oh, and I figured the error in price while reading about the pop top was going to be more like 12,000, which is close to what I paid used for my Westfalia Synchro Vanagon pop top. But they were the priciest. good choice not to buy. The engine is grossly underpowered and they only last about 40,000 miles on average.

Anonymous said...

I think you guys would love a Rialta camper!! Wanna talk a deal? Your friendly neighbor in Flagstaff